NEWS

In Brief

HELIOS REPORT

Results of probe into deadly crash given to authorities in Cyprus Greek investigators yesterday handed a confidential draft report to Cypriot authorities on the causes of the crash of a Helios Airways airliner north of Athens last August. All 121 people on board the Boeing 737-300 were killed and investigators are believed to point to a number of factors that led to the crash. The head of the investigating committee, Akrivos Tsolakis, said that he believed his report would change the way flights are operated around the world. The report was also given to Helios, now known as ajet, which has 60 days to respond to the findings. 24-HOUR TRAINS Electric railway to run through the night while Eurovision is in Athens The Athens-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) will be running 24 hours a day for the next two days to provide service for passengers traveling to and from events connected with the Eurovision song contest at the Olympic complex, officials said yesterday. Services will be reduced between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. when trains will run every 15 minutes. FYROM CLAIM President alleges minority in Greece President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Branko Crvenkovski raised for the first time the issue of a «Macedonian» minority living in Greece. «In Greece, there are a substantial number of people who individually feel like representatives of the Macedonian people,» he said. By late last night, the Foreign Ministry had not responded to his comments. Colonna visit France’s Minister for European Affairs Catherine Colonna held talks with the Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Deputy Minister Yiannis Valinakis in Athens yesterday. Colonna said that she would like to see Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union as soon as possible. In an interview with Kathimerini, Colonna also said that Turkey had to meet its obligations to the EU. Diesel ban Environmentalist group Greenpeace called on the government yesterday to leave in place a ban on diesel-powered cars in Athens and Thessaloniki due to the negative impact the fuel has on the environment and on people’s health. Airborne particles created by diesel fuel are responsible for premature deaths, cancer, and heart and breathing problems according to information presented by Greenpeace. Diesel-powered cars are also more expensive to run as they consume more fuel, Greenpeace added. School kidnapping Constantinos Arabatzis, who kidnapped two German school officials in Thessaloniki on Tuesday and later set them free unharmed, was charged by a prosecutor yesterday with abduction, attempted extortion and possession of explosives. Arabatzis was due to be conditionally released from jail this October though serving a 19-year sentence in 1995 for kidnapping two German bank officials. The suspect, who surrendered to authorities, also faced misdemeanor charges for firearms possession. Robbery gang A 35-year-old man was arrested in Athens yesterday suspected of being part of a gang of thieves that conducted more than 200 break-ins over the last three years in northern and southern Attica. Police began breaking up the alleged gang on Monday by arresting four people, three men and a woman. The man was arrested yesterday as he was driving a rented car that contained stolen items from a break-in that took place earlier in the day in Aghia Paraskevi. Police are searching for two more suspects. Immigrant increase Police in Macedonia, northern Greece, said yesterday that the number of illegal immigrants caught trying to sneak into Greece from Albania rose to 4,693 in the first four months of the year from 3,850 in the same period a year earlier. Police said that Albanians looking for seasonal work are a major factor behind the increase. Pieria quake An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale hit an undersea area off Pieria, southwest of Thessaloniki, yesterday but did not cause any damage or injuries. The epicenter of the quake was near the town of Katerini, seismologists said.